Of Ostriches and Water Lilies

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to write about this. The Monet Gardens were probably my favorite part of my trip to France last June. Between The Boy and I are there are just so many pictures that I’ve honestly been too overwhelmed to deal with posting about it. But it’s time.

In planning our day trip to Giverny, The Boy and I made what I’m pretty sure is classic tourist mistake. Well, actually it’s two mistakes. We waited until our last day in France because the weather was supposed to be nice. So the two mistakes were: 1) Letting the rain dictate our activities and 2) Trusting the weather report. France is a rainy place. Get on with your lives, and always leave the house prepared.

So, on with our story. The Boy and I left our hotel early in the morning, the sky was overcast but I was confident it would clear up. By the time our train left the station it was raining steadily. But I was still sure it would pass by the time we arrived in Giverny. That didn’t happen. I really wanted to walk to the gardens (and avoid the giant shuttle bus crammed full of tourists) so I suggested we get some coffee and wait for the rain to stop. The drizzle finally petered out, and we went off on our merry way, certain that the poor weather was behind us.

Sigh. How lovely is the French countryside? It’s like something out of storybook, painted all in water colors. The Boy and I could barely take three steps before someone had to stop and take a picture. And then my morning coffee started to catch up to me. really needed to pee. The first few times I said that out loud, The Boy politely ignored me. But then it became an urgent matter, and he heaved a sigh and gave me this look that I know meant something like, “Why do I ever let you leave the house?” I get that look a lot. But, being the wonderful and kind person that he is, he found a secluded patch of grass tucked away behind a shrub, up little ways up the small hill that bordered the path. Except it had been raining all morning, and as soon as I took one step up the hill, I sank to my ankle in mud and started to slide. I literally had to crawl the whole way up, hands and feet sunk in the mud, scrabbling at wildflowers, and hissing at The Boy the entire time that if he dared to take a picture of my butt, I would break his fancypants camera.

Behold, this is a picture of me trying to smack the mud off my show. The Boy and I had a running joke on this trip, “Not very French.” It pretty much referred to one of us doing something obscenely goofy that made all the sophisticated gauloise-smoking Frenchies look at us with disdain. It happened a lot. This is me being not very French. Onward!

At this point The Boy and I had been on the path for about two hours and we were less than half way. Everything was just too beautiful to rush. And then it started to rain again. And this time, it poured. We covered then next half mile fairly quickly, running from tree to tree and getting absolutely, completely drenched. Well, The Boy did. It turns out that sun hats are excellent shields for rain, as well. Look at this little guy we found, he needed our help! We kept trying to flip him over with a stick, but he seemed intent on lying on his back in the rain. To each their own.

And then we turned the corner and- Oh my word, is that an Ostrich!?

Yes. Yes it is. Hanging out with a few llamas and an emu, just for good measure. Look at its neck!

Almost there…

We made it! The walk only took as three and a half hours, but we made it! And now, it’s flower time!

And the only photo we have of the two of us together from our entire trip…

Once we’d gotten our fill of the gardens and sufficiently explored the renovated Monet House (no pictures allowed), it was time to head back to the train station. And of course, after I’d been completely soaked in a chiffon dress + open-toe shoes that morning, the sun was out, nary a cloud in the sky, as if the morning downpour had been nothing more than a dream.

I had a very French moment while this picture was being taken. As The Boy was setting up his shot, some random passerby stopped to snap a picture of me as well. Oo la la! And then, immediately after that, this happened:

Not very French.

All in all it was a dreamy day, and such a magical way to end our time in France. And now I’ve finally gotten around to dealing with the absolutely BANANAS amount pictures we took.

The pictures featured in this post were taken by both The Boy and myself. Normally I’d assign photo creds, but honestly I was just too lazy. Sorry, honey!

2 thoughts on “Of Ostriches and Water Lilies

  1. i’ve only just been able to catch up on your blog (ive been reading it randomly as an act of procratination all semester but it’s crazy times). these are absolutely beautiful! and i miss the way you write so much. i have most definitely become a devoted reader.

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